Sunday, January 1, 2017

Howard And His Tablets

What It's Good For

Well, last night, it was raining cats and dogs outside.

"Diana/Howards Morning Routine" 12-31-16

"Up at six o' clock; he dons his socks and off he walks, in a stupor.
Coffee and a newspaper first then off to the Jack In The Box, for breakfast and to use their pooper.
It's Howard's morning routine...yeah, Howard's morning routine...."

I was all packed up and ready to go out on a New Years Eve and busk, but decided that that would just put everything at risk of being soaked, or put myself in a situation where I had to decide how long I would wait for the rain to let up before just deciding to wrap myself in trash bags and make the 2 mile bike ride back to the apartment.

Plus, I had seen New Years Eve's in the past where throngs of people, interested only in the fireworks display, would converge on the Quarter. After the fireworks display was nothing but a large, slowly drifting cloud of smoke, they too would drift off, mostly concerned with finding their cars and fighting their way out of traffic.

It hadn't seemed like many had planned to watch the fireworks, and then walk around checking out buskers...

So, I set up my spotlight in my living room, tuned up the guitar, strapped on the harmonica and performed the first couple of songs that I might have, were I to have gone out.

There is a little bit of reserve in my performance, as I kind of had it in the back of my mind that the neighbors upstairs were ready to start banging on the floor with a blunt object, and I didn't get the kick into "overdrive" that seeing a tip go in my jar provides. But, I would say that this is pretty much what I do at the Lilly Pad for a couple or three hours almost every night...

There is also the fact that I am using the harmonica that I have already ordered a replacement for, because it has one reed broken off entirely (the 6 hole "draw" reed) and am playing around it, hoping that no notes are "missed." That was one of the factors involved in my deciding to stay in. Had I a brand new harp, I might have gone out there just to play it...

3 Forms Of Tablets

What next, from Howard?
Howard once let me hold on to his writing tablet, into which he was composing what should be a novel, when he is finished. I suppose I wasn't surprised to see that he had developed his own kind of shorthand (scrawl, chicken-scratch, encipher) using a single capital letter, for instance, to indicate the names of characters and places, amidst other text that looked like it was a prescription written by a doctor...

Then, about a year ago now, Howard had given me a bottle of tablets of a certain pain killer that he had gotten, prescribed by a doctor, after having had surgery.

Being one to "tough it out" and viewing pain as an important signal from the the body, which shouldn't need to be blocked out, he told me that I could sell the things, "see what you can get for them (i.e. what are they good for?)" and maybe eat a few myself, should I be so inclined, as part of the proceeds.

And now, a third form of "tablet," in the Samsung device he has given me, asking that I try to figure out "what it's good for."

I was to go over there to watch football on this New Year's Day, but there was heavy rain, and I have had my first cold in about 3 years, finding it easy to swallow down a few aspirins and go back to sleep, rather than fight my way from trolley to ferry, walk a mile through the heavy rain and then have to repeat the process in reverse.

I'll hang on to the tablet for one more night. I might try to shoot another little video, perhaps backing off a bit with the camera so that more than half of my face is visible, perhaps changing the angle of the spotlight so that my broken front teeth are in the shadows, as they are a the Lilly Pad, and bringing up the level of the natural ambiance of my living room, with its 16 foot high ceilings, in the process.


alex carter said...

If you're a touch typist, you can get these sort of holders for tablets that have a little keyboard built in that allow you to type on the tablet more easily - I think they use bluetooth or something.

A free tablet is an OK tablet, in my book. I'd not spend money on one. I had a tablet here to use, before I got internet, and it was OK for looking up things, posting posts of very few words on the very few sites I could post on, and looking up Ebay items. That was about it, and it quit working after a while, but at least that was after I got internet. Supposedly you can use a tablet on wifi but if your wifi situation is anything like that here in the so-called "silicon valley", it's going to be spotty, and when you have it, about dial-up speed.

Daniel McKenna said...

Yes, I am now typing this on H's tablet, out in the elements, leaning against a frozen yogurt store, using one finger instead of the two thumbed method that sapiens have at last evolved into, I couldn't get my own video to appear here, much less play. I am thinking of offering H 25 bucks for it as a video to YouTube device, one question is how good the quality will be; can I toss them into the ocean of "a dude sitting on his couch playing a guitar and harmonica and singing" videos ; be able to catalogue them somehow...they sound OK through my 25 watt "laptop" speakers, though with the bane off my existence, the guitar competing with the voice in the mid range, I have to pick lightly, there is no way to plug in the USB mic, or is there? I had better look into before coughing up 25 bucks to Howard...this would be the shortest distance to having videos of self, thinking of making a horn like on Victrolas that would be off camera but would catch vocals and boost them some over guitar...I'd better go, skeezers are eying tablet; "snatch and run skeezers," I call'em

alex carter said...

I'd not take the tablet out on the street, and you're better off looking for a real laptop. I got the one I'm typing on now, a Dell Latitude, for $200 but you can find 'em cheaper. Dell Latitudes are all over because they're the competition to IBM's Thinkpads,so corporations bought 'em and there are tons on the used market. What's amazing is, this one has a battery life of over 4 hours! I'll forget to plug it in, and hours later get a battery warning, it's hilarious considering when I moved here to San Jose I treated myself to a new Apple Macbook Air to the tune of $1200, and it never had more than 3 hours battery. And conked out in 8 months - when I sold it off for $400, it still worked just enough to convince the suck, er, customer to hand over the dough. I hope he knows a computer repairman!

If you put out a sign saying you need a laptop, any old laptop, I'm sure free ones abound. Everyone's got an old laptop of three collecting dust in their closet.

What happened to your Snowball microphone?

I need to solve the mic quandry myself... on a trumpet web site they're saying the go-to mic is a Shure SM57, but I'm not sure how to use one of those with a computer.

I think the way to go would be to make videos, with the camera just pointed toward the sheet music of what I'm playing, or a tasteful arrangement of trumpet trinkets or something, and post those onto YouTube. There's just 1000X the possibility of someone hearing your/my music on YouTube, and it's much easier to deal with than these weird audio-only sites. For my part, I'd like to start a YouTube channel just to document my sucky trumpet playing and maybe over time it will become less sucky.

Daniel McKenna said...

Yeah, the signal from the SM57 would have to undergo analog to digital conversion..and there's no telling if that would preserve the sound of the mic, which is "an industry standard" probably because it delivers a flat sound and 'cause it can handle the human voice or be placed 3 inches in front of Ted Nugent's amp...
you wouldn't want the mic to color the sound at all, so why not eliminate it and go trumpet-direct-to-digital (through a Snowball mic)?
I still have mine, but no way to plug it into the tablet. The tablet has only a built in mic, which is understandable because anyone requiring better quality than the built in one wouldn't be using a tablet to record in the first place...other things in the machine would just become the weak link at that point (bit rates, processor speed, etc) so the answer is "No Snowball, Jack" because there's no Snowball jack
The thing is only about a 40 dollar value these days, since the 6.0 "Marshmallow" Android operating system has replaced the 5.0 ("lollypop") one and, I think I can get by with my little Victrola invention (made from the plastic thing that one of the Bourbon Street drinks comes in). It boosts the voice, oh 5 db or so.
And as I become more acquainted with my neighbors here and care less and less about disturbing them, I'll open up my vocal chords a bit..
Right now it's the David Byrne vocal style. I'll gradually work my way up to the guy who sings for Queensryche LOL

alex carter said...

Yeah, I keep seeing people talk up the SM57/SM58 mics but then you need a bunch of other "stuff" to make 'em work with a computer, which is what everyone's gonna use to record with these days.

I think the Snowball or Yeti mics are probably the way to go. Considering I can walk 1 block and buy one!

I should try taking video with my camera too, and get that youtube channel going. In fact that would be more fun than a blog; tell myself I "have" to give a "recital" for the weekly update ... for an audience of one, of course because who's gonna watch such a boring channel?